New Delhi The Centre is contemplating introducing a Bill that will give legislative backing to a Trust that will oversee the construction of a Ram temple on the 2,77-acre site in Ayodhya and the running of the shrine in line with the Supreme Court’s November 9 judgment, a senior government official who did not want to be named said.
The legislation is likely to be introduced in the coming Parliament session which starts on November 18. “The issue is being discussed at the highest level, and it is being fine-tuned,” the senior official said and added, “the proposed legislation is likely to lay down in detail the functioning and responsibilities of the Trust.”
The Centre is acting in line with the Supreme Court order, which cleared the way for the construction of a Ram temple on the site in Ayodhya and directed it to allot a 5 acre plot at a “prominent” location to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque. Legislative backing will give the plan a stronger footing.
In its 1,045 page verdict, a five-judge bench of the apex court headed b y Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi ruled: “The Central Government shall, within a period of three months from the date of this judgment, formulate a scheme” under the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act, 1993. The scheme shall envisage the setting up a trust with a board of trustees or any other appropriate body…The scheme to be framed by Central Government shall make necessary provisions in regard to the functioning of the trust or a body including on matters relating to the management of the trust, the powers of the trustees including the construction of a temple and all necessary, incidental and supplemental matters.”
Although deliberations are still underway, there is a strong possibility that the ministry of culture would be entrusted with the responsibility of piloting the legislation and the subsequent formation of the trust in line with the proposed legislation.
“ We shall look at the provisions of the proposed legislation if it comes and then react . However what I have read of the judgement It does not say that legislation is required to institutionalise the trust . The Supreme Court has used its remit under Article 142 of the Constitution–substantial justice — therefore the direction to the government is not an obiter but a commandment, “ senior Congress leader and member of Lok Sabha Manish Tewari said.
On the proposed legislation, senior counsel and Constitutional expert Rakesh Dwivedi said, “The Supreme Court in its order has asked for a formation of a trust. I think it is proper that it comes in the form of a law.”